If you have any interest in gambling at all, you’ll want to read this in-depth interview that I recently did with professional blackjack card counter, Colin Jones. Colin is the co-founder of one of the most successful card counting teams to ever enter casinos. His “church team” was featured in the documentary, Holy Rollers. This interview will give you a detailed look into the mind of a professional gambler. Anybody can call themselves an advantage player (AP) or a pro gambler, but there are only a select few who have managed to profit at the expense of casinos.
To be a true pro gambler, you must be an advantage player. That means that you only gamble when you have an advantage over the “house” (casino). So my first question was whether Colin considered himself to be a gambler.
Colin Jones Responds:
“I don’t consider myself a gambler at all. I’m not really much of a risk-taker, I’m very calculated, and only like to play games when I can have a competitive advantage. That’s the beauty of card counting to me: you know you’re making the correct move 100% of the time. It doesn’t always work out in the short term, but you know you’re making the best mathematical decision every single hand.”
One of the big dilemmas a card counter faces is whether or not to go solo or join a team. It is usually easier to be successful with a team (larger bankroll, more hours played), but there are many problems that can come with playing on a team. I wanted to know if Colin thought he could have been successful playing by himself.
“I was winning money on my own before teaming up with Ben, but I think I would have burned out much quicker. It really helped my motivation to be a part of something bigger than myself. The last couple years of the team, we had a private twitter group where people were constantly tweeting results, stories, and whatever was going on while they were on a trip. It’s amazing how much it helped to feel like you weren’t alone on a trip, but several other people were “there with you”, even if only through a private twitter feed. I honestly think that’s the only reason Ben and I teamed up: it was lonely card counting on our own. That’s also why we wanted to create a place for community for card counters when we started Blackjack Apprenticeship.”
Some of you may be reading this article thinking to yourself, “Isn’t card counting illegal?” or may be your thinking, “Colin must be a genius to be this successful at card counting.” After speaking with, and getting to know Colin, I can assure you that he is very intelligent, but you don’t need to be a genius to count cards and card counting IS NOT illegal. These are just two of the myths that are circulated as fact among the general public. My theory has always been that these myths are perpetuated by the casinos to prevent others from trying to count cards. Colin has a bit of a different view.
“Casinos haven’t helped at all, but I actually blame this on Hollywood. Every movie with card counting in it ends up with someone’s fingers being broken or pistol whipped in a back room or the card counter being a math whiz or “Rainman.” It’s just a more exciting Hollywood story than a normal Joe going in and playing blackjack for a couple hours, and worst-case scenario, told he’s not welcome to play blackjack at that casino. Hollywood has so much pressure to make things bigger than life. Even with the documentary about our blackjack team, they changed the timeline and skewed several details because, as the filmmaker put it, “it needs more conflict.”
This is part 1 of my 2 part interview with Colin. If you are interested in learning more about card counting, you need to visit Colin’s website at BlackjackApprenticeship.com. This site has everything you need to learn how to count cards and become an advantage player. It has videos, forums, software trainers, and much more. You can also get personal one on one instruction from Colin. If you want to learn more about Colin and his team, watch the documentary Holy Rollers.